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Thread: Most overrated

  1. #1
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    Most overrated

    I stole this idea from a thread on another board, but it's a good one, and always generates plenty of debate.

    The Godfather
    The Shawshank Redemption
    The Godfather Part II
    Schindler's List
    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
    Casablanca
    Citizen Kane
    The Seven Samurai
    Star Wars
    Memento


    These, according to the voters on IMDb.com, are the ten greatest films ever made. If you had to choose just one that you felt did not deserve its placing, which one would it be, and why?
    Perfume V - he tries, bless him.

  2. #2
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    Undeserving of top ten...

    That's a tough one, partially because that list on IMDB always changes. If I had to choose one, it would be "Star Wars." I have a lot of love for the original trilogy, and I think that they were very well done, with some well-written dialogue (granted it ain't beauty and poetry, but it's some good writing), and some ground breaking special effects. However, whereas the other films have some sense of classical drama and high intelligence to them, "Star Wars" is really much closer to the average action film. It really is just a typical swordfighter story combined with a typical jetfighter story, with a lot of action. Sure romance developed by "The Empire Strikes Back," and that gave way to some intellectual drama (somewhat), but really whereas "Lord of the Rings" was a classical work of literary fantasy translated to screen, "Star Wars" was just a sci-fi action movie that had a good premise, a good script, and some good characters that led to a huge following. Sure that makes it good, but I would never count that as among the top ten best films of all time. That's just my opinion though, but I don't want to hear any "Star Wars" fanatics telling me to go screw myself or anything. I like "Star Wars" but not that much. I personally would never put it in the top ten.

  3. #3

    Tie

    It would have to be a tie between Memento & The Shawshank Redemption. While taking into effect that both are good films, when it comes down to it Memento is essentially nothing more than an average revenge tale filmed backwards -but it's word-of-mouth has turned it into 'brilliant' and 'mind-blowing' and all that bullshit- and Shawshank is a machismo pop soap opera filmed with the same rose tinted shades Steven Spielberg wore when he filmed The Color Purple. I did enjoy both of them at the time but they've been mysteriously put into this pantheon of "THE GREATEST MOVIES OF OUR TIME" for no other reason other than pop culture popularity. (I'm not saying I can account for Star Wars either; it's one of my childhood favorites but I would never put it in the top ten of all time.) You would have to make a pretty strong case for why these two would make the cut over Intolerance, Ran, The Rules of the Game, Nashville, Vertigo, Metropolis, Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, 8 1/2, L'Avventura, etc. -you know the drill. I think there's too damn many 'lists' and 'polls' anyway.
    Last edited by dave durbin; 02-24-2003 at 03:56 PM.

  4. #4
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    Rebuttal...

    Dave Durbin...I have to disagree with your take on "Memento." It may seem like the average revenge tale told backwards, but the idea of a man with a short-term memory problem is very original for a film, let alone the fact that to tell it backwards keeps the viewer guessing, as it does keep Guy Pearce's character. Everytime something happened to him, we'd see that thread and understand the one we saw previous, but it then just raises a new question. The one reason why I'd say it's disappointing, like M. Night Shaymalan's films, is that while they are good films and very enjoyable to watch, once we see the trick ending, the film loses its luster over time. Sure for awhile afterwards, you'll look for the clues that you missed, and you might feel good about spotting them later, thinking, "Oooooooh, now I see." But eventually you run out and it just becomes a good movie that you might watch maybe once every five years. That would be the reason I wouldn't put it on the top ten because you can only watch it so many times before it's not interesting anymore, BUT I can't say that it's an average revenge tale, because it's not. It has an original spin on it that makes it more than that and because of that I think it's better than "Star Wars" and would be more deserving of a top ten best films list. Of course, this is just my opinion.

    As for "The Shawshank Redemption." I think that movie was a case of a typical story given a beautiful treatment. Plotwise, it's nothing new. Innocent man is sent to jail, he tries to deal with it the best way he knows how, and he eventually is either set free, proves himself innocent, or escapes. I think the reason it was a great movie as opposed to just a good movie with a mundane plot was that it told that mundane plot very well. It had a lot of good humor, and some touching moments where you could honestly feel for this man. We know he's innocent, but that's not going to help him, and he had to find a new way to help himself. It's nothing new, but it's beautifully done.

    I'll also agree that there are too many lists and polls. Too true. One of the biggest problems is that film, like any other art form, is subjective and what constitutes a good film for one person might be another person's trash. I think David Fincher is a brilliant director, but my dad hates him. I think "Highlander" was one of the best films ever (European version especially), but most audiences and critics think it was shit that had a big enough cult following. I have made a pact with the world to agree to disagree...and it's hard for me because sometimes I feel a movie is so good that I can't understand why others don't see...and vice versa. I honestly think "Gladiator" was a piece of shit and that Russell Crowe should've won for "L.A. Confidential," and even more so for "A Beautiful Mind." I think Denzel deserved to be nominated for "Training Day" because it was a good performance, but I never would've given him the Oscar. This is just me...nobody has to agree with me.

    That is the problem with movies...it becomes such a heated topic for people, and...I admit being guilty of it myself. But I'm also the first person to step back and say that we all have our views. Let them be, and try to talk intellectually about it. I think that's why top ten movie lists always change...you can't really say what are the top ten best movies of all time.

  5. #5
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    Citizen Kane

    If I were a critic, I wouldn't pick "Citizen Kane" to be the greatest film ever made. I admire the film greatly and it's a marvelous piece of work but every time I watch it, I'm left with an empty feeling in my stomach. It has nothing to do because the film is depressing or negative but I suppose it has to do with the film being very theatrical.

    If I were to pick a film that would be the greatest, I don't know. I certainly think there are plenty of better films than "Citizen Kane," even political ones too. "Hearts and Minds," the Vietnam documentary comes to mind. Ok, it's a documentary but its still a profound piece of work.

    I just don't want to be forced to believe "Citizen Kane" is the best film.

  6. #6
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    There is NO best film

    I've only seen "Citizen Kane" once, and while I think it's definitely an important film and one of the best ever made, I would never think of calling it THE best. There are so many movies, and each have so many elements that work for them to make them good or bad. It's all opinion, and opinions are subjective. One person's good movie is another person's masterpiece. One person's piece of crap is another person's nightly enjoyment. Sure we all SAY "this is the best," or "that is the greatest ever," and stuff like that...but we're all human, we all have an opinion, and if you want to believe that "Split Second" is the greatest film of all time, that's your choice. I'll agree we shouldn't be forced into thinking "Citizen Kane" is the best...but...people are still trying to force me into believing that Russell Crowe's performance in "Gladiator" was better than in "A Beautiful Mind." They're not succeeding because I have my opinion and that's that.

    *Note: Incidentally, "Split Second" was a 1992 Rutger Hauer film that had a super-low-budget, a mundane plot, a script so-bad-it's-ridiculous, and probably one of the best examples of the term "B-movie."*

  7. #7
    Citizen Kane may not be the best of all time, but up til now possibly the most influential, as per film historians and critics. Most average moviegoers aren't as much fans of Kane as critics and directors tend to be. I like it, and I can see why it could be listed among the top 10 greatest all-time from a strictly academic standpoint -- few films that have come after it have been created absent of some kind of Kane influence. However, it's true that as a story it leaves something to be desired.

    I've never seen The Seven Samurai, so I can't comment on it. However, my vote for the film I'd knock off the list is easily The Fellowship of the Ring. Both it and Memento (and even Shawshank and Schindler's) are a little new to be considered "best of all time" by anyone, and its placement on this list is testament to the power of the Star Wars-like internet fanbase these Tolkien films cultivate. If the IMDb list were comprised of votes made by movie lovers of all ages, rather than the 12-30 year-old age group it appeals to, we'd probably see a much different top 10. Still, The Fellowship, while a technical marvel, is really too new and too unremarkable (in my opinion) to qualify as one of the ten best films ever, when compared to other technical marvels and sweeping epics. It may earn its place in retrospect, over the next decade or more, but for now I'd bump it down about ten spaces.

    Incidentally, if we're talking influence as a key ingredient of top 10 films (as in Citizen Kane), I think we may see Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Seven or Fight Club streak into the top ten over the coming years, as film historians start recognizing that modern films are more directly influenced by Fincher, Tarantino and Rodriguez (among others) than Welles.

  8. #8
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    Excellent point!

    That's all I really have to say, miseenscene. Very Excellent Point. Very true.

  9. #9
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    Well said. Fight Club is an absolute watershed film for American cinema, and I would put money on its influence becoming more pronounced with time.

    In case you're wondering what my choice for eviction would be, I'd say The Shawshank Redemption. I've had fans of the movie explain its appeal to me, and they all seem to use adjectives like "solid" or "well-crafted" that may be acceptable for describing pine furniture, but which I'd hardly use to describe my all-time favourite movie. Where's the fire? Where's the passion?

    Some others I can't get behind, too. Kane is good but Touch of Evil is Orson Welles' masterpiece. Fellowship of the Ring is good too, but The Two Towers is better. And Star Wars is another one I just don't see anything outstanding in.
    Perfume V - he tries, bless him.

  10. #10
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    CITIZEN KANE

    Allow me to express my incredulity and horror upon running into some of the comments here. Fine films like Fight, Se7en, Pulp, Reservoir, 2 Towers being compared to the one film in history that introduced the most formal invention and creativity to cinema. Most of these films made my top 10 the year they were released, but ALL WORLD, TOP 10 EVER? Even if you completely ignore historical context , CITIZEN KANE is a film of such depth, it takes repeated viewings just to absorb all its psychological and sociological implications. Art appreciation is subjective but c'mon! Maybe if you had seen it on the big screen you'd appreciate it more. Then again whoever called this film "very theatrical" is definitely a lost cause. You'll probably continue to "be left with an empty feeling in your stomach EVERY time you watch it." For the rest of y'all, throw away your video games, turn off that MTV and start with the Silents.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 02-27-2003 at 09:04 AM.

  11. #11
    The first time I saw Citizen Kane was on the big screen. I liked it. The first time I saw Pulp Fiction was on the big screen. I liked it, too. Which one has stayed with me longer? Pulp Fiction. Which one has directly influenced more filmmakers in the past ten years? Pulp Fiction, I'd wager. Citizen Kane deserves to be recognized for its achievement and influence, but other films capture the hearts, minds and excitement of other generations.

    Saying new films can't be compared to the classics is like saying the ten best films ever made have already been made. Why bother making more?

    And don't blame our collective underwhelming feeling in regard to Citizen Kane on Nintendo and MTV. I've got It's a Wonderful Life and La Dolce Vita at the top of my list, and I'm sure half the MTV generation would rather gouge their eyes out than watch The Sweet Hereafter, which I've seen twice -- on the big screen, in fact -- and love dearly. This is a forum for debate and sharing of opinions, sure. It may also be a valuable intro to films we haven't seen or heard of. But it's not a film history class, and suggesting that we need to unplug from the 2000s and start watching silent films before we can truly appreciate cinema cheapens not only our opinions but the modern films currently being produced, which are intended to be enjoyed on their own, without being filtered through historical context.

  12. #12
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    Riiiiight. I've just noticed that my posts here have pointed to a lack of appreciation of the classics and a love of big-budget braindead nonsense like Titus, Withnail and I, Touch of Evil, Night of the Hunter, La Dolce Vita, Dr. Strangelove and the works of Louis Feuillade.

    OK, cheap shot. But there's a difference between a movie that has yet to show its full influence and stature and a movie that never will. I dare say when Kane came out, there were people rolling their eyes at this young tyro with the arrogance to suggest cinema could ever top L'Arrive d'un Train a la Ciotat. ;)
    Perfume V - he tries, bless him.

  13. #13
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    Even Mozart was unappreciated in his time. Today we consider him a genius and an artist of a musician...in his time, he wasn't much more than another musician trying to hard to impress everybody.
    That's probably how "Citizen Kane" was received initially. Look at it now, it's considered one of the greats. Movies take time to really earn their place in the pantheon of cinematic greatness. I think it's very important to know where movies came from and to watch older movies because a good 50% of the time, those movies achieve something that people today are still trying for. Sure the car chases in "The Fast and the Furious" and "Swordfish" and newbies like that are cool, and probably inspired off stuff done by other movies...but it was "The French Connection" that broke new ground with elaborate car chases. I think there does exist a certain lack of respect for cinema's roots and that people just look at today's stuff as the best. Without "2001: A Space Odyssey," sci-fi films would probably still be a B-movie genre. That movie, while confusing and unfortunately-now-outdated was the first sci-fi film to have a budget that wasn't laughable, to incorporate science fact with intelligent writing and intellectual philosophy beyond alien-shoot-'em-ups. Yet I know so many people who chide it for being stupid, boring, confusing, and outdated. That's not the point! It's STILL a marvel of its time, and the production value is so good, no amount of CGI could hope to improve it. Same for "Blade Runner." Flaws aside, it's still probably THE most influential sci-fi film ever...look at how many films came after that totally ripped off the atmosphere, the look, the overall cyberpunk genre that became popular after that movie. Look at how many sci-fi movies in the last few years have been based on books by the same author (Philip K. Dick), all asking the same questions: What is real? What is human? Etc...
    My point is, the classics SHOULD be respected and while you can like newer films, you should at least have a sense of knowing where it came from. Otherwise, I don't think you can truly consider yourself a filmfan because you only see the films from one time.

  14. #14
    I agree, technically. It helps to know where things have come from, and I'm of the only people I know who won't flee the room if something black and white comes on. But it still smacks of elitism to suggest that people who only watch modern films aren't "real film fans," or what have you. They may not appreciate the classics or have a broad frame of reference, but they're still fully able to appreciate a modern film on its own merit. One doesn't need to watch game film of Jim Brown running to be able to appreciate game film of Emmit Smith, for example. It helps, but it in no way diminishes Smith's skills or his fan's appreciation of them if they've never seen Brown, Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, etc.

    I'm not defending the clueless wonders who think '80s films are "old" and won't watch Schindler's list because it isn't in color. I'm just tying together the fact that we don't need Citizen Kane hard-sold to us as the greatest film of all time in the same way that we don't need to oppress modern films as being of a lower caste simply because they came from something else. Everything comes from something else, but it's also a singular product of its own time, and should be judged as such. Likewise, revering Citizen Kane simply for its influence is equally pointless -- if it doesn't hold up under its own merit, it doesn't need to be in that particular person's top 10. It can be in yours; it doesn't need to be in mine, and doesn't make me a less educated or less credible film fan for thinking so.

  15. #15
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    overrated usually means a movie is good

    If you look at most movies that are considered overrated you will find that they are just GOOD movies. People usually get all uppity because a film gets a lot of attention or hype. Both sides argue their cases really well but in all fairness both are usually right. It's all a matter of taste.

    Duck Soup is a film that is always cited as a classic marx bros. film. I thought it sucked. Millions disagree with me.

    With regards to Citizen Kane, either you get it or you don't. If you can't look at one frame and see genius stamped all over it, then you "need to go back to the woodshed" as Spike Lee says. Orson created a whole new language for cinema. End of story. All techniques for storytelling were given a fresh coat of paint by this PRODIGY. The fact that the film is a joy to watch is just a bonus.
    Incredible. Kane is one film that hype cannot damage. ever.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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